May 29, 2024

Optical tweezers

  • Using optical tweezers, researchers at Raman Research Institute (RRI), attempted to study structural details of Laponite, a synthetic clay.
    • RRI is an autonomous institute funded by Department of Science and Technology.
    • Laponite is a widely used raw material in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.
  • Optical tweezers grab particles, atoms, molecules, and living cells with their laser beam fingers.
  • They use laser light to push small particles towards center of the beam and to hold them there.
  • Optical tweezers are now widely used to investigate biological systems.
  • Other Applications include: Š
    • confinement and organization (e.g. for cell sorting).
    • tracking of movement (e.g. of bacteria).
    • application and measurement of small forces.
    • altering of larger structures (such as cell membranes).
  • Limitation– optical tweezers are only able to manipulate very small objects and only at very short distances.
  • Arthur Ashkin — who, at 96, becomes the oldest scientist ever to be awarded a Nobel Prize — is credited with having invented “optical tweezers”.
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